Welcome back to Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Impressions if you want to check out some of my earlier write ups you can find Episode 3 and Episode 2 here. Anyways moving on this was a major change of pace from previous episodes which had seen the tension as well as the body count rise ever steadily, instead the episode focuses on the planning and organizing for the new mission of escorting Kudelia to earth. Much as I suspected last week the battle with Crank signified the end of the first arc of the series with this certainly being the set up for the second. Furthermore I expect this to be a shorter write up then normal as I’m not feeling amazing right now, anyways moving on lets get to Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 4.
The year Post Disaster 323, Chryse Guard Security has become Tekkadon - the last memories of the past have been purged in fire and blood. However change is coming.
Unlike previous entries as I mentioned above Episode 4 “The Price of Life” is a much slower affair then we’re used to in Iron-Blooded Orphans hell episodes like these feel really out of place in any Sunrise mecha series. The lack of action being replaced by various scenes of exposition was an odd choice all around from a narrative standpoint. My personal feeling is the show runners felt the series needed more grounding as the first three episodes quickly established there themes so well going on more would have been a little boring. All around I’m personally quite happy with the end result of this episode as rather then marveling at how dark the show went instead it left me thinking where it’ll go.
With that in mind for this episode rather then doing a recap scene by scene as I’ve previously done I thought I’d give my thoughts on major occurrences as a whole inter-splicing what I felt were key moments. The first has to do with Todo more popularly known around these parts as “Hitler-stash” although he was never really treated as the most trust worthy character it was never as clear as in this episode he’s an out and out antagonist. Indeed the writers and directors treated this inevitability with as much subtly as a sledgehammer smashing a melon as the final scene had him promising to make the Tekkadon fear adults again. I do have to say this though if you’re going to give a character a Hitler-stash you’re probably not going for subtly with him...
This is undoubtedly a key moment as I expect much like Crank was the antagonist of the first arc Todo will be this arcs antagonist before they leave Mars for Earth. Furthermore with the revelation this episode that “Human Debris” is as I expected a form of indentured servitude (debt slaves), its very much likely Todo sees his new superiors with very little respect, much like a former slave owner would see freed men in a post US Civil War context.
Moving on from here we get more world building about the organizational structure of the solar system. As we know Mars is an economically impoverished colony of the Earth, furthermore we had been told Earth is relatively unified in operation but still divided into economic zones with Gjallahorn being the power ensuring stability on the Earth Sphere. Currently Earth is divided into four Economic Zones: The Strategic Alliance Union (USA, Latin America, and South America), The African Union (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East), The Oceanian Federation (India, China, Japan, Australian, and Pacific Island Nations - Note the giant hole taken out of Australia that is without any doubt something very important to the backstory which I’m sure we will figure out about later), and finally Arbrau (Russia and Canada...), for some reason nobody wanted Greenland...
Away from the world building each of our main characters has got some more revealed about them. The first Kudelia has completed her promise by having her prime benefactor transfer funds for her travel to Earth. While she was discussing the payment we learn more about the mysterious money and what we find is unsettling. Revealed to be a morbidly obese man he refers to Kudelia as his “Goddess of War” one who with her “Young Braves” will “build paradise over their corpses”. Without any doubt this man is not an angel investor and again I expect we will be seeing more of his as time goes on. Following this Mika appears and seems to instinctively sense her unease and invites her to help farm.
During their time farming Mika explains the economic reality of the Orphans where the males fight and the females seem to farm corn. Corn is key as instead of being used to feed the impoverished instead it’s sold cheaply as biofuel leaving the farmers themselves starting. Furthermore due to the debts placed upon them by unknown forces (I expect some form of economic settlement with the Martian elite/government) the males are forced to effectively trade their lives for money through the various Private Military Corporations located on Mars. In short the entire Martian system the orphans exist in is one of debt slavery and hopelessness making their bloody push for freedom look almost reasonable.
Finally near the end of the episode Mikazuki comes face to face with the two Gjallahorn elite Inspectors McGillis Fareed and Gaelio Bauduin who almost killed with their car Biscuits two sisters. Enraged Mikazuki attacks Bauduin nearly snapping his neck, in an instant Mikazuki is different with his pupils contracted and emotion gone. It really seems Mika’s dark side is triggered by those close to him being in danger or threatened. However he is calmed down by Biscuits grandmother with a light slap to the upper neck following this he seems to forget all his actions.
For me this further leads me to believe shortly (most likely around Episode 9-12) Mikazuki in a blood rage will do something he so regrets he can’t forget. This will lead him to have a breakdown that will in a sense “Correct” his character and turn him into a more standard protagonist. As you know I believe Biscuit and his sisters have triggered some serious death flags already I’m now starting to worry if it’s Mikazuki who will do the deed?
However following the confrontation McGillis comments on Mika’s Ālaya-Vijñāna implants causing Bauduin to vomit in revoltion. He also mentions Mika would make fine soldier to which Mika doesn’t respond. As the Inspectors drive away they comment on how CGS no longer exists instead being replaced by Tekkadon and wondering if they will meet them.
In the end while is was a slower episode then we’re used to its of course a very interesting one. I also expect it to be an important one setting up many key elements for future episodes including potentially seeing Tekkadon’s spaceship for the first time. Furthermore this was the fourth episode in a row where Mika was show swallowing a pill of some kind, these scenes previously have intrigued me but their commonness has convinced me they are of some importance. To what I can only speculate; however since I do that a lot anyways I expect its a drug to help keep him balanced or regulate his Ālaya-Vijñāna Implant in some way.
Anyways everybody what did you think of this slower episode of Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans since as you can see I’m a sucker for these world building episodes I had a lot of fun. Anyways leave your thoughts in the comments I know you have a lot of them, what do you think of any of my theories think I’m going to far out here. Regardless it’s kinda hard to believe we’re only at Episode 4 and there is this much to talk about. Without any doubt this series is beating all my expectation.